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Conferences, Forums, and Workshops


The office of Conferences, Forums and Workshops presents a broad range of high-quality programs that address issues of historical and contemporary significance as well as focusing on the decorative arts, material culture, historic trades and horticulture. Colonial Williamsburg's skilled professionals are joined by distinguished members of the academic and professional communities to present these programs.

Join us for the Garden Symposium, Working Wood, the Antiques Forum, and other programs for a rewarding learning experience.

Please bookmark this site and check back frequently for new offerings. Special conference rates are available for programs at Colonial Williamsburg's official hotels. To make room and dining reservations, call (757) 220-7255 Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m.

Program Information and Online Registration


  • September 5-6

    Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections 14th Annual Meeting

    The Friends of Collections annual meeting is a private event for members of Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections.

    Program Information and Registration

  • Chocolate making

    November 2-4

    400 Years of Chocolate: Aztec to Artisanal

    Come join us on a journey with one of the world’s favorite plants: cacao. We will discover the amazing paths through time and space that this plant and its products have traveled.  From early uses as a ceremonial beverage and important crop in Mesoamerica, to its transformation to one of the most popular foodstuffs in the world, chocolate has crossed oceans, been carried up mountains, and even flown into outer space. How did the seeds of this humble plant become so popular? 

    Join Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Foodways staff, curators, and distinguished guest scholars as they explore how this plant is grown and processed and how the seeds are transformed into a product that conquers the food world. Learn how people of the past used and altered chocolate from a beverage into a candy and beyond.
    Guest speakers will include Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro, one of the world’s top cacao scientists. He is Global Director of Plant Science and External Research, Mars Incorporated, and Adjunct Professor in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The University of California at Davis.  Dr. Shapiro also helped map the cacao gene and is one of the foremost scholars in the field of cacao propagation.  Dr. Michael Coe, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, will present the place of chocolate in early Mesoamerica.  Ruby Fougère, Curator of Furnishings, Collections and Conservation Supervisor, Parks Canada, will complement a Foodway's staff presentation on chocolate in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and North America, with a look at chocolate in French Canada.  Dr. Deanna Pucciarelli, Program Director, Hospitality and Food Management Program, Ball State University, will explore how chocolate production methods evolved during the nineteenth century, and John and Tracy Anderson of Woodhouse Chocolate in St. Helena, California, will delve into modern artisanal chocolate making.

    And, of course, no program on chocolate would be complete without a chance to eat some!  Chef Rhys Lewis and the Colonial Williamsburg Lodge culinary team will present us with delicious chocolate concoctions of the past, present, and future.   So, come learn, smell, taste, and follow chocolate on its journey through history!

  • man with wig

    November 14-16

    A Head for Fashion: Hair, Wigs, Cosmetics, and Jewelry, 1600-1900

    Colonial Williamsburg is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Kings Arms Barber and Wig Shop by hosting a conference on wigs, hair, makeup, and accessories of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The program will examine how “fashion from the neck up” changed over time, reflecting changes in taste, the personal images people wished to present, affluence and class, and sheer practicality. Colonial Williamsburg wigmakers and other tradespeople, historians and interpreters, will be joined by noted guest speakers to present talks on wigs, hairstyles, cosmetics, jewelry, and related topics. These presentations will be interspersed with demonstrations and panel discussions.

    As we put this program together, we realized that there is little published information specifically about these topics, and it is difficult to find anything that brings them all together. This conference will help to fill that gap, for scholars, curators, museum interpreters, reenactors, theatre costumers, and anyone who is just plain interested. We are looking forward to a diverse and enthusiastic audience who will bring their perspectives to the conversation. And we plan to have fun!


  • January 18-21 and 22-25

    Working Wood in the 18th-Century

  • tall case clock

    February 20-24

    67th Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum
    New Findings in the Arts of the Southern Backcountry

  • March 15-17

    Stitching Together a National Identity

    Call for Papers
    American home furnishings, quilts, needlework, and clothing reflect great diversity and regional variations that occurred as a result of the ethnic origins of the makers, trade patterns, influential teachers, even climate and geography. This symposium will explore these regional variations in American textiles of the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries through a series of formal lectures and juried papers. Participants are invited to submit 300-word abstract proposals for illustrated oral lectures 25 minutes in length. Paper proposals are due to Colonial Williamsburg for peer review by August 1, 2014; acceptances will be announced by November 1, 2014. Submit abstracts to Textile Symposium Abstracts, attention Kim Ivey, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 309 First Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185 or via e-mail at For general information about the symposium, contact Deb Chapman at 800-603-0948 or 757-220-7255 or via e-mail at Those whose papers are accepted will have free registration for the symposium.

    We will not be doing the hands-on workshops as part of this upcoming symposium. We hope to get papers on quilts and needlework, as well as clothing, to attract a broad audience.

  • April 11-13

    Garden Symposium

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Post Office Box 1776
Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776

Fax: (757) 565-8921
Telephone: (757) 220-7255
Toll free: (800) 603-0948



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